As a college student, I have a million things on my mind. Homework? Studying? Fitting in time to go to the gym? Social life? What am I going to do with my life? And lastly, at the back of every girls' mind (whether she likes it or not), when will I find "The One"? This is a pressure that is unnecessarily felt by thousands of girls (and guys!), and certainly doesn't help with all of the other things we have to think about that are… a bit more important right now!
Once you begin to tackle the process of finding a significant other, you face many obstacles, and not every situation may work out in your favor. Sure, there may be times when you get stood-up, shed a couple tears, and spend a little too much time overthinking a witty, yet breezy, yet flirty text to send to your crush in your Business class; but one thing that should never be a part of this process is emotional or physical abuse.
Many people may shrug off the legitimacy of emotional abuse because there are no bruises, no cuts to see. I am here to tell all of you, emotional abuse is a very REAL and very COMMON thing. Being taken advantage of, bullied, taunted, or scared of your significant other is not something that should be seen as normal. Ever. But for many people, the sad reality is that they begin to believe that this is what love is. I am here to tell you, it is not.
You quickly start to realize, after leaving a toxic relationship, just how abnormal things really were. Anxiety which was brought upon me in a past relationship was something I saw as normal: Who DOESN'T have to compulsively check their Snapchat and Messages to see who their other half is with, what they are doing, if they are ignoring you… right? Wrong.
After recently going through a major self-improvement bout, I have begun to realize what a healthy relationship looks like. A healthy relationship doesn't necessarily look like flowers, expensive jewelry, fancy dates, and Instagram-worthy posts of you and your beau. A healthy relationship is a shoulder to cry on when you are hopeless, a hand to hold while sitting in church on a Sunday morning, getting a funny Twitter post from him/her just because "it made them think of you", and a vanilla milkshake when you have a fever. It isn't always the "cute" moments that make a relationship special, it's the messy moments.
The person who you know you can count on to lift you up, not helplessly pull you down. The person who will stay up into the wee hours of the morning to help you with a critical essay you have been stressing over, or flash cards for a big test. That is the person you want to hold close.
It is hard to believe that just 10 months ago, I thought a person like this didn't exist. I thought that love meant pain, meant sadness, meant loneliness, most of all, I thought love would always be something unrequited. Today, I am proven wrong. Not only by my considerate and funny boyfriend but by my incredible, uplifting, kind friends and family.
I write to you as someone who has found her way back on track. Love (rather, what you think love is) can cause you to wear INTENSELY rose-colored glasses, which is painful but true. For those of you trapped in an unhealthy relationship, there will be brighter days ahead.
All it takes is one helping hand to lead you towards true happiness, one person to change your whole perspective of love. Sure, a bouquet of sunflowers is always my favorite surprise, but I will never again let it shield me from the pain behind those sunny colored petals. Because now, I finally know how it feels to be loved.